Archives for August 2017

CEDA Announces the Expansion of its Grant Writing Department

Article By: Cris Gastner

In the early Eighties, the Southeastern MN Development Corporation (now CEDA) was formed as a grant writing company assisting small rural communities with applying for and administering Small Cities Development Block grants. Over its existence, CEDA has successfully authored over $42 million in grant funding for its communities.

Over the last several years, the grant writing efforts for the organization have been led by CEDA’s Director of Grants, Michelle Vrieze. With Michelle’s work, CEDA has remained extremely successful with the Small Cities Development Block Grant program.  With the large amount of time and work required by this program along with the development of many new programs, CEDA has decided to expand its grant writing department.

In July, CEDA welcomed Megan DeRouchey to the team as the Assistant Director of Grants. Megan joins the team after relocating from South Dakota where she worked for the South Dakota Wheat Growers Association. She has a passion for rural communities and is excited to find new ways to help them thrive.

“We are very excited to get Megan started in this new role, her passion for rural America has her eager to help them in any way she and we can.” says CEDA President Ron Zeigler “We think expanding our grants department will allow us to continue the consistency and success that we have with the Small Cities program and carry it forward into many other new programs as well for our communities.”

City of Blooming Prairie, MN Assists Bunkies Grille and Lanes Make Repairs With a Lasting Impact

Article by: Tom Monson

CEDA team member Tom Monson, who serves the City of Blooming Prairie, has been working alongside his Economic Development Authority board and staff to assist long-time Blooming Prairie business; Bunkies Grille & Lanes make much-needed roof repairs.

The business, which has been owned and operated by the Ressler family in Blooming Prairie since 1947, is a four lane bowling alley, diner and home of the popular “Bunkie Burger,” and historic barn located on Main Street. The business was purchased by Aaron Ressler from his brother Mike in 2014. Ressler moved back to Blooming Prairie from Aruba, bringing with his experience as a PGA professional golfer and high-end golf club manager. Purchasing the neighboring storefronts, Bunkies Grille & Lanes expanded to add an indoor golf simulator providing winter golf leagues and lessons.

One-third of the 70-year old bowling alley rolls into the historic barn, which has a severely deteriorated roof. The dilapidation of the barn roof threatens the functionality of the bowling alley. The project was estimated at $80,000, of which $30,000 was secured through owner equity. Blooming Prairie EDA was able to lend$30,000 of its USDA RD Intermediary Relending Program and $20,000 of its Small Cities Commercial Revolving Loan Fund to fill in necessary gaps in project financing.

“I enjoy projects that can help our Main Street businesses. The Ressler family is a joy to work with and I’m glad to help their bowling alley and golf simulator stay in operation for another 70 years,” said Tom Monson who serves the City of Blooming Prairie. “This project wouldn’t have happened without the city’s assistance, so I’m proud to help protect one of our small businesses.”

The owner of Bunkies Grille & Lanes is excited about the investment in their buildings with repairing the roof of the historic barn. He expressed the hope that the project will help protect the business for years to come and retain all 4 positions, allowing for future expansion and service to Blooming Prairie residents.